Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Hermitage on the Michaelslei at Ürzig, Looking Downstream with Separate Detail; Ürzig and the Hermitage on the Michaelslei, Looking Upstream; Wolfer Kloster, Looking Downstream

1839

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 235 × 140 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D28311
Turner Bequest CCLXXXIX 11

Catalogue entry

Three of these slight sketches depict the village of Ürzig and the Michaelslei, a rocky outcrop on one of the surrounding hillsides. Michael Joseph Quin describes it as an attractive destination for tourists, writing that:
In the face of a high red cliff called Michaelsley, may be a castellated wall. This wall covers the mouth of a cavern, which was occupied in the olden time by a band of robbers, each of whom, however, claimed to be of some order of knighthood: it was in a later age the residence of a pious hermit.1
Accessible ‘only by means of a succession of ladders’, it is no surprise, then, that Turner only captured it from afar in these sketches.2 These drawings and others in the Trèves to Cochem and Coblenz to Mayence sketchbook (Tate D28404; Turner Bequest CCXC 27a) formed the basis of a gouache and watercolour of Ürzig and the Michaelslei of c.1839 (Tate D24789; Turner Bequest CCLIX 224).
The lowermost sketch shows the ruined monastery at Wolf, the Wolfer Kloster, which is depicted in a series of views on the folio opposite (Tate D28310; Turner Bequest CCLXXXIX 10a).

Alice Rylance-Watson
August 2013

1
Michael Joseph Quin, Steam voyages on the Seine, the Moselle, & the Rhine: with railroad visits to the principal cities of Belgium, London 1843, p.51.
2
Bartholomew Stritch, The Meuse, the Moselle, and the Rhine; or, A six weeks' tour through the finest river scenery in Europe, by B.S., London 1845, vol.II p.8.

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